A rapper and DJ who is friends with Stormzy and AJ Tracey has been jailed for five years after being caught by police with a gun and bullets in his luxury Range Rover.
Musician, DJ and producer Wesley Gumbs, 35, who is known as Fastlane Wez, was stopped by officers on the M6 in Cheshire earlier this year after apparently buying the pistol from an underworld contact in Manchester.
Officers also found WhatsApp messages on the singer's mobile phone detailing his desire to acquire a firearm and arrangements for a rendezvous in the Hulme area of the city, which is well known for its street gangs.
The arrest occurred just four months after Gumbs, who regularly posts selfies on his Instagram page posing with Stormzy and also boxer Anthony Joshua, released a track called 'Encro' about the 2020 police operation against the Encrochat criminal mobile phone network.
Wesley Gumbs (above), 35, has been jailed for five years after being caught with a gun and bullets in his Range Rover on his way home after a police tip off. He allegedly obtained the weapon from an underworld contact in the Hulme area of Machester
The musician, who is know as Fastlane Wez, has been in custody at Altcourse jail in Liverpool since his arrest. He admitted to possessing a prohibited weapon, but the possession of ammunition charge was dropped after prosecutors accepted the bullets would not be usable
Chester Crown Court heard he would use 'gangsta rap' lyrics which repeatedly referenced firearms and shootings.
Police believe he was on his way back to his home near London with the gun when officers swooped on him following a tip off.
Today Gumbs, from Slough, Berkshire, appeared via video link from Altcourse jail in Liverpool and admitted possessing a prohibited weapon. The possessing ammunition charges against him were dropped after prosecutors accepted the bullets would not have usable.
Father-of-two Gumbs showed no emotion as Judge Simon Berkson told him: 'Working firearms need to be put out of circulation as they cause no end of misery to people and the deaths of many.
The rapper has been seen with the likes of boxer Anthony Joshua (above right). Gumbs showed no emotion in court on Friday as Judge Simon Berkson told him: 'Working firearms need to be put out of circulation as they cause no end of misery to people and the deaths of many'
The rapper can be seen out partying with fellow rapper Stormzy (above left) before his arrest. The judge said only a lengthy and immediate sentence would be appropriate for the rapper, who began his five years today
Gumbs pictured with DJ Tim Westwood (above right). The damning WhatsApp messages exposed the artiste expressing wanting to actively purchase a firearm
'You have not given any real explanation as to why you wanted or needed a firearm. On this day you had travelled from London to Manchester and when your Range Rover was stopped you were returning to London.
'This pistol was usable and operable. It seems from WhatsApp messages that you had been actively wanting to purchase such an item.
'A number of testimonials show you to be a talented rap artiste over many years and that you have mentored others as well as collaborating with a number of successful artistes.
'It s a great shame that you have ended up in the dock of a crown court facing a substantial sentence for a very serious criminal offence.
'Only a lengthy sentence of immediate imprisonment is appropriate for this gravity of offending.'
The court heard police made the arrest near Stafford on February 10 this year after acting on intelligence received on Gumbs' 400 mile round trip. Prosecutor Jonathan Duffy said: ' The vehicle was searched and a pistol was found in the boot.
Gumbs is seen above in a staged photo which purports to show him being arrested. His song Encro references gun crimes and includes noises intended to sound like the discharge of a firearm
Another staged shot of Gumbs being arrested. His lawyer Paul Hodgkinson said his client did not explain why he wanted the gun, but said the rapper had 'good character'
'It is known the defendant had travelled North from London and visited the Hulme area of Manchester and it is believed at the time he was stopped he was returning to London.
'He was arrested but denied any knowledge of the weapon. But several telephones found in the possession of the defendant were examined and one contained a series of conversations over WhatsApp in which he expressed interest in firearms and included the exchange of photographs and videos of guns and ammunition.
'These messages reveal he was intending to purchase and ultimately did purchase a pistol - possibly this one. He is a rap artiste who records under the name Fastlane Wez and it would appear he is reasonably well known.
'His music tracks include the genre of gangsta rap and one is entitled Encro the content of which references gun crime and includes sounds intended to portray the discharge of firearms and frequent reference to violence.'
Gumbs had no previous convictions. In mitigation defence, counsel Paul Hodgkinson submitted seven character references from other 'well known' rap artistes and said his client had been a carer for his elderly mother who has a brain tumour.